National Ability Center – Adaptive Skiing and Sports for All Abilities

adaptive skiing programs at Park City and the National Ability Center
V and her huge smile on our trip to Park City and the National Ability Center.

If you’ve read my posts before, you know of my love for the National Ability Center (NAC) in Park City, Utah.

The National Ability center is all about helping people of all ages and abilities develop lifetime skills by providing affordable outdoor sports and recreational experiences like adaptive skiing in an environment that understands disabilities.

They not only assist with activities for people with special needs, but they help your family grow in these activities together.  When we visited, they set up horse back riding lessons for my daughter with special needs and her older sister to do together, which made my heart smile.  They taught our family to cross country ski – a comical experience for this family of snowboarders.  They provided a ski trailer for V which inspired us to get our own equipment and go cross country skiing every winter.  We learned to rock wall climb; I was surprised by how much my special needs daughter enjoyed that.  But my favorite thing was spending a day on the slopes with my whole family; V skiing along side us for the first time adaptive skiing with her ski instructor.  Pure magic.

Cross country ski at national Ability Center Park City Utah

To participate with the NAC, you just need to be a member (individual membership fee is $20, $50 for a family) and sign up for adaptive classes, programs or camps that range from nordic and alpine skiing, sled hockey, equestrian, aquatics, archery, cycling, rock climbing and a lot more (see their web site for specific fees, they are a non-profit so fees are at cost, and they offer financial aid).   Their programs include recreational, therapeutic, and competitive tracks.  Families and athletes can stay at the ranch, or off-site.  They also have family and individual camps throughout the year.  V and I went to their holiday family camp 2 years ago and had so much fun making great memories that we still talk about today.

horse back riding special needs national ability center

I wish every family with a special needs child could experience the National Ability Center.  For us, it was really life changing.  I realized that we could do so much more than I thought, I saw my family participating TOGETHER and loving it, and we made memories that will last a lifetime.  We left with what we called the “Park City After-Glow” that stayed with us for the next week, and we still feel today when we think back to that trip.  It’s inspired us to ski more and try more activities as a family.

NAC ski sleds at Park City Mountain Resort
NAC ski sleds at Park City Mountain Resort

Special needs adaptive skiing in Park City


  • do you have a place inPark city where i can rent a pair of adaptive ski poles
    I had a knee replaced a year ago and the other one is getting bad but with the poles i can
    ski without a problem

    thank you

  • Hi, do you take older adults. Used to be black double diamond mogul skier. Though Dr. Related back injury and parasthesia, can’t ski any more. Can I have help. Parasthesia happened recently, and has me upset, angry and depressed. I need to get out and ski.
    Joan Gondola. NYC, 646-226-7653. Please help direct me. Thanks,Joan

    • Hi Joan, I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. From my experience adaptive ski programs work with both kids and adults. I don’t speak for the programs directly, I suggest you review the list above and find the resort you are interested in visiting and give them a call. Most of these programs are volunteer-run, so if you don’t hear right back, give a follow up call. It sounds like a ski program like this would really bring some happiness to you, best of wishes!

  • That’s so encouraging to see that they have full-fledged adaptive classes. I just found out from a friend of ours that there are other mountains closer to us (East Coast) that also offer classes. I was so happy to hear that – I’ve put off going back to the slopes for 2 years now b/c it was such a challenge the first time we took our 3 year old 2 years ago. It’ll be nice to add it back into our lives. Looking forward to hearing more about it when you all visit in January.

    • Thanks Tawanna, I also want to try staying there this winter, I think they offer such incredible opportunities for families to get out and get active together. I saw your family went gluten free over the holidays – how’s that working for you?

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